What type

Asked October 4, 2018, 3:04 PM EDT

I was just walking in the woods where I live And I ran into a snake What type is It?

Brevard County Florida snake identification snakes of florida yellow ratsnake pantherophis obsoletus quadrivittatus

1 Response

Thank you for your question. The snake in your photograph is a yellow ratsnake, scientific name Pantherophis obsoletus quadrivittatus. All members of the genus Pantherophis are non-venomous.

Typical length of this snake is between four and five feet. A maximum length slightly over eight feet has been recorded. The yellow ratsnake is a subspecies of Pantherophis obsoletus, which includes the black ratsnake, gray ratsnake and Everglades ratsnake. Ratsnakes are found in most of the eastern states, and as far west as portions of Texas. The yellow ratsnake is found along the lower half of the North Carolina coast, along the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia and throughout most of the non-panhandle portion of Florida.

They live in a variety of wooded habitats, but can also be found in open areas, such as agricultural fields. They have also adapted quite well to suburban settings. As long as they have trees to climb, they seem to do very well. They are often found in barns, storage buildings, garages, and even homes. They are excellent climbers.

They feed primarily on small mammals, birds and bird eggs. Juveniles feed primarily on tree frogs, small lizards and baby rodents.

Here's a link to the Florida Museum's page on ratsnakes:

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/list/pantherophis-alleghaniensis/

An excellent field guide that includes Florida snakes is:

Gibbons, Whit. (2017). Snakes Of The Eastern United States. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim